Teaser Tuesday!

I'm having a harder time selecting teasers that aren't also spoilers! This section picks up shortly after the disastrous dinner with the captain.


After that disastrous meal, Captain Lee invited us to dine in his cabin quite frequently. Repulsed by him and his friends, I rarely accepted again, but Doña Catherine often went by herself or with the other women.

I was given permission to go above as long as I stayed out of the crew's way, so I spent most of my evenings on deck. I found a spot in the bow where I could nestle down among the coils of anchor rope. From there, I could watch the sea roll to either side of the prow, or look up as the clouds streamed amongst the stars. Anyone climbing in the rigging could probably see me if they looked, but I could not be seen from the deck.

If conditions were just right, the crew's words fell on me like cinders on the wind. Too bad it was mostly ugliness I heard from the men. The longer we were at sea, the meaner and baser the crew became. Coarse jokes, petty quarrels, and drunken fights were the norm.

A typical example was a man called Taylor, a braggart who thought himself an artful wit. His group of hangers-on treated every one of his words as if it were on a par with Mr. Beau Brummel’s. If Taylor made a jest and someone didn’t laugh, he was bound to take his annoyance out on the humorless man’s flesh—his knife being much quicker than his intellect.

I felt safer walking the decks in the morning, when the watch changed and most of the crew were too groggy to bother me. I always stopped at the stall that held Doña Catherine's horse: a white Moorish stallion, gentle and patient. Doña Catherine loved Alud because he had faithfully carried her husband, not just for his value as a stud. Devoted to her in turn, the horse would nuzzle me all over, searching out every last essence of her scent on my clothes.

3 comments:

Angie said...

I know what you mean about finding parts that don't spoil. I quit posting NW because of that.

This piece, ah I loved the description of the clouds and the stars - I really get a sense of what her experience is on this boat - the good and the not so good. Lovely tease. :)

Ellen said...

"he was bound to take his annoyance out on the humorless man’s flesh" - Ouch! Sounds vicious. Great descriptions in this snippet :)

Bri said...

Your prose is gorgeous, and I love the voice in this! :D

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